Kawasaki Reveals Electric, Hybrid and Hydrogen-Powered Prototypes
Electrics coming in 2023, hybrid Ninja to follow in 2024
The alternative energy models are part of Kawasaki’s efforts to reach carbon neutrality, with production models expected to launch in the next two to three years.
While the electric, hybrid, and hydrogen-powered technology was the main thrust of Kawasaki’s presentation, the company reiterated that it isn’t giving up completely on gas-powered products, confirming it will introduce about 30 internal combustion engined motorcycles for the 2024 and 2025 model years.
Kawasaki Z BEV
In Milan, Kawasaki showed an updated version of the naked electric prototype, and for the first time, referred to it as the Z BEV. Hiroshi Ito, president of Kawasaki Motors Corporation, confirmed the Z BEV will comply with European A1 license regulations and will go on sale in 2023. This fits with our previous reporting about the electric models being powered by a 11 kW (14.8 hp) motor. Ito also confirmed the Z BEV will have a 3.0 kWh battery.
The Z BEV prototype shows some progress from the Intermot prototype. In addition to the new paint and graphics, the EICMA prototype gains a new cover over the motor and loses a piece of bodywork that had covered the front edges of the battery pack. It also sports a license plate holder, which suggests the Z BEV is near production ready.
Like the Intermot prototype, the Z BEV appears to be based on the Z400, but with the wheels and brakes from the Ninja 300.
Kawasaki Ninja BEV
Joining the Z BEV is an electric Ninja prototype. The Ninja BEV will share the same components as the Z BEV, but with bodywork straight off the Ninja 400.
The Ninja BEV will also comply with A1 regulations, and will go on sale in 2023. The VIN filings we previously uncovered suggest that both BEV models will be coming to the U.S.
Kawasaki Ninja HEV
Joining the BEV prototypes is a Ninja HEV (hybrid electric) prototype. Kawasaki first showed footage of a prototype in 2020, but we’ll have to wait a bit longer for a production model, with Kawasaki planning for a 2024 release.
As such, Kawasaki offered even fewer details about the Ninja HEV, though we can make some assumptions from the photos. The internal combustion engine appears to be based on the 399 cc Parallel-Twin that powers the Ninja 400. The electric motor isn’t readily visible, but the earlier prototype had it positioned behind the cylinder bank, and we expect that to be the case here. There is extensive bodywork around the subframe, much more than we typically see from Kawasaki, and we wouldn’t be surprised if this is where the battery is located.
Kawasaki Hydrogen Motorcycle
No timeline was provided for a production model, and we suspect it won’t be available until 2025 at the earliest.
Kawasaki Hydrogen Teryx
Along with the hydrogen motorcycle, Kawasaki showed a hydrogen-powered side-by-side based on its Teryx.
What’s interesting about the hydrogen Teryx is that the decals also list Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and Toyota’s logos, as well as those of Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and automotive component maker Denso. The Japanese characters describe it as a “research vehicle”, with these companies collaborating on the project.
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